Ernest Hawkless - notes re Military Service WWI

e hawkless msm 1919.jpg (130865 bytes)

Ernest Hawkless
photographed in 1919

click on photo to enlarge

(photo provided by Norm Stevens)

Ernest served in the 56th Battalion Australian Army - his cousin Sidney George Hawkless also served in the 56th Battalion and they left Australia on the same ship the H.M.A.T. A29 "Suevic " for Egypt and France. Ernest enlisted on the 8th September 1915. He said his age was 29 (when he was really 32), height 5ft 5 ins, weight 9 Stone 7 lbs, complexion florid, eyes hazel, hair dark, religion Church of England. Scar on front of right thigh.

Ernest was wounded in action on the 19 May 1917; the injury was a serious gun shot wound to the head. He was transferred to England, recovered and returned to action in France where he was wounded for a second time by gas on the 24 April 1918. He again returned to England to recover.

Ernest was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. The following text is taken from official government records:

14th Aust. Infantry Bde. 5th Australian Div. Australian.
Action for which Commended.

 56th Inf. Bn. 3123A. Lance Corporal, ERNEST HAWKLESS

This N.C.O. arrived with his unit in France in June 1916, and during the greater part of his service has acted as Storeman for the Battalion.

He has always proved himself to be a most reliable and capable N.C.O. and has been of inestimable assistance to the quartermaster and the Battalion generally. He is always cheerful and obliging and has been unceasing in his efforts to improve conditions for the front line troops.

His duties in connection with the issue of rations and stores have been very arduous and have necessitated strenuous work in all hours of the night under most difficult conditions. L/Cpl. Hawkless has never spared himself and has always proved himself capable of dealing with any situation which might arise.

During his service he has twice been wounded on the latter occasion as a result of gas and gas burns sustained during a heavy gas shelling of AUBIGNY when he insisted on remaining at his post after the remainder of the men had been ordered to evacuate the village. The service he has rendered, and the manner in which it has been rendered have been of the greatest value to the Battalion.

Number, Rank and Name have been verified and are correct.

This N.C.O. has not received any previous reward.

Recommended by:     (Sgd)  H. L. Cameron Major, T. Commanding 56th Bn. A.I.F.
                                (Sgd)  J. C. Stewart  Brig. Gen. Commanding 14th Aust Inf Bde.

Ernest's mother (Mary Annie Mallitt) received the following letter from the Army:-

Mrs A. Hawkless,
c/o Mrs J. L. O'Donnell,
[this was Amy Evaline, Ernest's sister]
Government Savings Bank,
Campsie, New South Wales

Dear Madam,

I have much pleasure in forwarding hereunder copy of extract from Fifth Supplement, No.  31370, to the "London Gazette," dated 3rd June, 1919, relating to the conspicuous services rendered by the undermentioned member of the Australian Imperial Force.


HIS MAJESTY THE KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Meritorious Service Medal to the undermentioned, in recognition of valuable services rendered with the Armies in France and Flanders:-

No.  3123A Lance-Corporal E. HAWKLESS"

The above has been promulgated in "Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, " No 113, dated 6th October, 1919.

(Sgd) W C J. /  Major,
Officer i/c Base Records

Home page        Thomas John Hawkless page (Ernest's father)

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